brought up to be a civil engineer, and therefore was not sent to a university; but in 1829 he was ordained deacon by the Archbishop of York (Dr. Harcourt). He was for a short time assistant curate of Christ Church, Harrogate, but in the year of his ordination removed to Romaldkirk, in the beautiful neighbourhood of Barnard Castle. He received priest's orders in 1830 from the Bishop of Chester (Dr. J. B. Sumner), and in 1837 was presented by the same bishop to the vicarage of Clapham, in the dales of the West Riding of Yorkshire. In 1841 Bishop Sumner presented him to the vicarage of Cottingham, near Hull, where he spent the remainder of his life.
Overton, like his father, held evangelical views, but could sympathise with good men who belonged to other schools of thought. He was an able preacher and an active parish priest in his large and scattered parish, which then included the now separate parishes of Skidby and Newland. Through his exertions the parish church of Cottingham was restored, a parsonage and schools were built, the income increased, while schools and vicarage houses were built at Skidby and Newland. He died on 31 March 1889, and was buried at Cottingham.
In 1829 he married Amelia Charlesworth, who died in 1885. By her he had a family of four sons and three daughters.
Overton wrote both in prose and verse. His first essay, a poem entitled ‘Ecclesia Anglicana’ (London, n.d.), was written at Romaldkirk to celebrate the restoration of York Minster after its partial destruction by the fanatic Jonathan Martin (1782–1838) [q. v.] A later edition appeared in 1853. It was good-humouredly satirised by Tom Moore, who commenced his parody:
Sweet singer of Romaldkirk, thou who art reckoned,
By critics episcopal, David the Second,
If thus, as a curate, so lofty your flight,
Only think in a Rectory how you would write!
In 1847 appeared the first part, and in 1849 the second part, of the most popular of his works: ‘Cottage Lectures on Bunyan's “Pilgrim's Progress” practically explained.’ These publications were very favourably received by the evangelical party, both in England and America. In 1848 he published ‘Cottage Lectures on the Lord's Prayer practically explained; delivered in the Parish Church of Cottingham.’ In 1850 ‘The Expository Preacher; or St. Matthew's Gospel practically expounded in Cottingham Church,’ 2 vols., and ‘A Voice from Yorkshire: a Scene at Goodmanham [Godmundingham], in the East Riding, A.D. 627, with Notes;’ in 1861, ‘The History of Cottingham;’ and in 1866, ‘The Life of Joseph, in twenty-three Expository Lectures.’
[Private information; Memoir of Rev. Charles Overton; obituary notices in the Guardian and the local newspapers; account of the Overtons among the Historical Families of Yorkshire in the Leeds Mercury; Works of T. Moore.]
OVERTON, CONSTANTINE (d. 1687), quaker, was a freeman of Shrewsbury, and was one of the first to join the quaker society in Shropshire. As early as April 1657 he wrote from Shrewsbury gaol an expostulation called ‘The Priest's Wickednesse and Cruelty, laid open, and made manifest. By Priest Smith of Cressedge, persecuting the Servants of the Lord, whose outward Dwellings is in and about Shrewsbury. As also the Proceedings of Judge Nicholas, and the Court of Justice, so called, against them so persecuted by the Priest, at the last generall Assizes holden at Bridgenorth for the County of Salop. Together with some Queries to the Priests,’ London, 1657. In 1662 Constantine and his brother Humphrey were in prison for not paying tithes. On 26 Feb. 1663 the former was seized at a meeting at Shrewsbury, and sent to prison; and in 1665 he was disfranchised, as freeman of Shrewsbury, because he refused to take oaths, and held meetings in his house. At the close of the same year he and his brother Humphrey, with their two men-servants, were committed to gaol for keeping their shops open on Christmas day. Constantine Overton issued a token with the shoemakers' arms in 1663. In May 1670 the mayor and officers came to his house in Shrewsbury, and took down the names of all present at a meeting, sent four to prison, and fined the rest, Constantine, Humphrey, and Thomas Overton being the heaviest sufferers. The meeting being resumed the following week, they were again heavily fined, and later also for the offence of keeping open shop on Christmas day. At the general proclamation, March 1672, Thomas Overton was released from Shropshire county gaol, having spent seven years in prison, and part of the time in London. Constantine married, on 5 March 1668, Mary Turner (d. 23 Oct. 1687), and died on 7 Oct. 1687.
[Besse's Sufferings, i. 750, 751, 753, 754, 755; The Humble Appeale and Petition of Mary Overton, prisoner in Bridewell ; Janney's Hist. of Friends, iii. 222; MacClintock and Strong's Dict. of Biogr. vii. 492; Gough's Hist. of Quakers, iv. 311–14; Owen and Blakeway's Hist. of Shrewsbury, i. 490; Registers at Devonshire House.]